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Archive for December, 2014

The Friday Fillip: Boxing Day and Hard Times

It’s Boxing Day. The name is of uncertain origin but one thing seems clear about the day: there’s a tradition attached to it, in Europe at least, of giving to those less fortunate. This is good. More so these days, perhaps, because of our inversion of the tradition from a day of giving into yet another day of getting, as the “sales” shout at us from all quarters.

I thought I might “sing” at you instead of hawking wares, sing songs on the theme of hard economic times, because for all of our great wealth, indeed luxury, there are still . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Legal Business Development: What Is Your Big Goal?

What do you want? Yes, that’s a pretty big question for lawyers since most would start by explaining… “That depends…” I think Forbes contributorBruce Kasanoff who ghostwrites articles for entrepreneurs, and speaks about bringing out talent in others has a great bit of advice. Kasanoff explains…

“To paraphrase a bit, a professional recently wrote me to say that he was capable of being a VP, but that he was happy in his job, but he didn’t do such a good job of representing himself, but he was proud of his accomplishments, but he thought he should probably improve

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing

Law Reform E-Publishing

“The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) will be moving to full electronic publication of its reports in 2015.” My perspective: like every other piece of born and solely digital legal information, law librarians will figure out how to make these important materials permanently available. Nothing to see here folks…unless institutional law libraries (government ministries, courts, academic law libraries) are not supported. Surely that wouldn’t be allowed to happen in a democratic country and among a group that values information and precedent as much as the legal industry.

I will stop being facetious and get to the [other] point about law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


Dan Pinnington
How You Can Reduce the Extreme Dangers of Using Public Computers*

Public computers in libraries, Internet cafes, airports, and copy shops are an extreme security risk. While you can take steps to reduce these risks, it is still very dangerous to access sensitive personal or client information on them….


Critical Characteristic 3 – Engagement
Shaunna Mireau

For the last 3 legal research tips of 2014 I . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

What Is the Purpose of Your Law Firm’s Website?

It seems an obvious enough question. However, I’ve come to learn over the years that it’s not so simple after all. First off, many firms haven’t ever really considered it before. Secondly, there really are several different possible true answers. I’ve set out six possible responses below that correspond to different types of firms I’ve encountered over the years.

Answer 1: There Isn’t One.

For some firms, the website is just a thing:

“Everyone has a website now, so it’s just another thing my firm is supposed to have, like a fax machine and some telephones. I’d like a website . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Of Google’s Pending End-to-End Encryption Extension and Vintage Email Legal Ethics Opinion

Back in June this year, people perked up to the news that Google was developing an email encryption extension to Google Chrome. The alpha version of the “End-To-End” extension was posted publicly for the coding community to test and kick around, and David Whelan dropped the news here on Slaw in the course of a more general post about the importance of encryption and the risks lawyers take when they don’t properly safeguard client data.

Unlike data on your hard disk, data sent by email has always been prohibitively complicated to encrypt. The tools necessary to encrypt email from . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Deep Learning Algorithms and the “Machine Learning Revolution”

I saw a very interesting TEDx chat by Jeremy Howard where he talked about the current state of machine learning and what computers are capable of today. Howard is the founder and CEO of Enlitic a medical company that “uses recent advances in machine learning to make medical diagnostics faster, more accurate, and more accessible.” His talk was called “The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn” and was delivered last month at TEDx Brussels. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Too Much Information; Can LibGuides Provide a Freely Available Filter?

Is there too much choice out there? Do we need 35 varieties of coffee? 46 cereal options? 17 brands of garbage bags? Over half a dozen sites to find US caselaw? At least the same number for cases from England and Wales? Did we ask for all this choice? And do we need it?

The longer I teach legal research, the more complex it becomes. Not the content, that’s pretty much as it always was. But getting to the right answer in a timely fashion depends on so many variables that it is no wonder eyes roll and heads shake . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1.  2. AvoidAClaim Blog 3. Entertainment & Media Law Signal  4. À bon droit  5. Legal Post
The Supreme Court’s Other Opportunity to Revisit Adverse Effects Discrimination under the Charter: Taypotat v Taypotat

A few weeks ago we wrote a post on Carter v Canada (Attorney General), 2012 . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Threshold Motion Dismissed on Small Jury Award for Chronic Pain

Car insurance premiums are an important public policy consideration, even in light of the compensatory rationale underlined in tort law. In Ontario, the legislature has created a balance through s. 267.5 of the Insurance Act and its Regulations, which creates a “threshold” before which an injured person can receive damages after a motor vehicle collision.

Although brought into statute through Bill 198 in 2002, the test used on this threshold precedes the amendments and can be found in Meyer v. Bright, as follows:

(i) Has the plaintiff sustained a permanent impairment of a physical, mental or psychological function? . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : En concluant que le public raisonnablement informé ne perdrait pas confiance dans l’administration de la justice si l’intimé, inculpé du meurtre au premier degré de ses deux enfants, était remis en liberté en attendant la tenue de son nouveau procès, le juge de première instance n’a commis . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Administrative Law – Aliens – Civil Rights – Crown – Government Programs

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. 2014 FC 651
Administrative Law – Aliens – Civil Rights – Crown – Government Programs – Practice – Statutes
Summary: The Government of Canada funded comprehensive health insurance coverage . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday